Le Pen jeered on final day of bruising campaign as Macron extends poll lead

Le Pen jeered on final day of bruising campaign as Macron extends poll lead
Photo: TF1 screenshot
Marine Le Pen was given a frosty welcome on her final campaign stop to the city of Reims on Friday where scores of protesters jeered her as she visited the cathedral. It comes as polls suggest rival Emmanuel Macron has stretched his lead.

Images and videos posted on Twitter showed scores of protesters waiting outside the cathedral in Reims, north eastern France, where Marine Le Pen had made a surprise visit on the final day of the bruising election campaign.

She was booed and jeered while protesters could be heard shouting “give back the money!” (rends l'argent). In the end she had to be taken out of a side door by her security team to avoid the baying mob awaiting her.

The Mayor of Reims had already said earlier in the day that Le Pen would be wasting her time in Reims, a city that is a symbol of “Franco-German reconciliation” and one that is “turned towards Europe”.

Le Pen's end to the campaign has been bumpy to say the least.

On Thursday she had eggs  thrown at her by protesters in Brittany, a day she was criticized by many, even members of her own party for her performance in Wednesday's debate, in which she was considered to be too belligerent. Some critics and media described it as a 'train wreck'.

The debate may indeed have an impact on Sunday’s vote but not in the way Marine Le Pen had hoped.

An opinion poll carried out after the live debate and published on Friday by the Elabe polling institute for BFMTV and L'Exxpress magazine showed centrist Macron had a lead of 62 percent over Marine Le Pen’s 38 percent.

That’s a three point boost for independent Macron whose lead had slumped to 59 percent in the previous poll after a slow and clumsy start to his second round campaign.

The poll will be a boost for Macron who went into the last day of campaigning of Friday confident it is he and not Le Pen who will be celebrating on Sunday night.

Analysts say only mass abstention can really threaten his victory and although two thirds of Jean-Luc Melenchon’s far left supporters have vowed to stay away from the polls, Macron should still have more than enough support to get past the post.

Both candidates plan high-profile television appearances on the final day as they seek to win over voters, with most polls suggesting the 39-year-old Macron enjoys a 20-point lead over his opponent.

At a final rally Thursday in the northern village of Ennemain, Le Pen told supporters she would give them back the keys to the Elysee Palace.

“France cannot wait five more years to hold its head high,” she said.

During a final rally in the southwest town of Albi, Macron told cheering supporters: “We will keep our promise of change to the end”.

The former economy minister came under fire however from dozens of union activists demanding the abolition of France's controversial 2016 labour reforms.

Macron said he had already chosen the name of his future prime minister — but even the person concerned had not been informed.

“Yes, this choice has been made 'in petto',” he told Europe 1 radio, using an Italian expression meaning “in my heart”.

Macron said he would only announce his choice after he took over from President Francois Hollande, if he wins.

“I will not announce it before,” he said.

Le Pen has said she would appoint eurosceptic ally Nicolas Dupont-Aignan — who was knocked out in the first round of the presidential election — as her premier if she wins.